To Alphonse de Candolle 6 July 1868
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
July 6 1868.
My dear Sir
I return you my sincere thanks for your long letter, which I consider a great compliment, & which is quite full of most interesting facts & views.1
Your references & remarks will be of great use should a new edition of my book be demanded; but this is hardly probable, for the whole edition was sold within the first week, & another large edtion immediately reprinted which I shd think wd supply the demand forever.2 You ask me when I shall publish on the variation of species in a state of nature.
I have had the M.S. for another volume almost ready during several years, but I was so much fatigued by my last book that I determined to amuse myself by publishing a short essay on The Descent of Man. I was partly led to do this by having been taunted that I concealed my views, but chiefly from the interest which I had long taken in the subject. Now this essay has branched out into some collateral subjects & I suppose will take me more than a year to complete.3 I shall then begin on species, but my health makes me a very slow workman. I hope that you will excuse these details, which I have given to shew that you will have plenty of time to publish your views first, which will be a great advantage to me.
Of all the curious facts which you mention in your letter I think that of the strong inheritance of the scalp-muscles has interested me most. I presume that you wd not object to my giving this very curious case on your authority. As I believe all anatomists look at the scalp-muscles as remnant of the panniculus carnosus which is common to all the lower quadrupeds, I should look at the unusual development & inheritance of these muscles as probably a case of reversion.4
Your observation on so many remarkable men in noble families having been illegitimate is extremely curious; & shd. I ever meet any one capable of writing an essay on this subject I will mention your remark as a good suggestion.
Dr. Hooker has several times remarked to me that morals & politics would be very interesting if discussed like any branch of Natural History, & this is nearly to the same effect with your remarks.5 I agree almost entirely with what you say on acclimatisation & on graft hybrids; I never was more perplexed in my life than to come to any probable decision about Cytisus adami.6 I suppose that you have seen the recent article in the Bot. Zeitung by Dr. Hildebrand on graft hybrids in potatoes; this seems to me the best case yet recorded, & I am repeating his method of trial this year.7
With respect to the hypothesis of Pangenesis very few persons approve of it, but it has some enthusiastic friends; nevertheless I am so presumptious as to have much faith in its vitality.8
With Cordial thanks for your great kindness & sincere respect, I remain, My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully & obliged | Ch. Darwin
Thanks AdeC for his long letter full of interesting facts, which will be of great use if a new edition [of Variation] is demanded.
As for when CD will publish on variation in a state of nature: he has had the MS almost ready for several years but Variation fatigued him so much
that "I determined to amuse myself by publishing a short essay on the Descent of Man".
AdeC will have plenty of time to publish his views. Asks permission to quote AdeC on a case of inheritance of scalp-muscles [see Descent 1: 20].
Hooker has expressed a view, similar to AdeC’s, "that morals & politics would be very interesting if discussed like any branch of Natural History".
Agrees with AdeC on acclimatisation
and on graft-hybrids.
CD is repeating Hildebrand’s method in producing graft-hybrid potatoes.
As for Pangenesis, very few people approve of it though it has some enthusiastic friends and CD has much faith in its vitality.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6269,” accessed on 3 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6269